Thursday, March 20, 2014

Open the eyes of my heart, Lord.

Don't you just love that song.
"Open the eyes of my heart, Lord.  I want to see you."

Love it.

Twice this weekend my eyes were opened wide to witness beautiful people doing beautiful, amazing, hard things in His holy name,

On Friday, my mom and I headed over to Russia (the tiny village in ohio, not the country) to support a ministry called Rustic Hope in their annual quarter auction.  My knowledge of what this organization does was pretty limited before Friday, but I knew it was important.  Through testimonies, and  conversations with other women there, I started to realize just how important.  This amazing woman Connie, started this pro-life ministry with the support of her husband and family to provide loving care and support to pregnant teens.  Sometimes taking these young ladies into their home to live as part of their family, often driving them to doctor appointments, providing them with clothing and all the things they need along the way.  Most importantly offering unconditional love in a supportive family environment.  Helping young ladies choose life.  Amazing.  My heart was so opened.  I see God in her, and her family, and the work they have committed themselves to.  A woman who's mission is to love.  That's God.  I see him in her.  Is that Namaste?  I think so.

On Sunday and again today, I was fortunate enough to hear from another amazing soul doing God's work.  Scott Will, a graduate of Ft. Recovery spoke at our parish about his medical missionary work in South Sudan, Africa.  Our parish is supporting him and the organization he works with (World Harvest Mission) as our lenton mission.  He shared stories of treating young children, extremely malnourished.  He told of the poverty and poor living conditions, as well as the civil unrest, and lack of sense of community there.  But he continues to return to South Sudan and share with them Gods love, through his work in the medical field as well as through team sports, bible studies, and agricultural education.  Truly inspiring.    His stories were amazing.  And his beautiful message of having no regrets, only blessings from his response of "yes" to God's call was awesome.  Gods grace is sufficient.  His living witness and testimony opened my heart, and I saw God present, alive and working within Scott.

Truly, we are Gods hands and feet on earth.
What call might I be missing or rejecting?
Or  perhaps, what call have I said yes to, but have not given myself to fully?

These beautiful people give me hope, inspire, encourage, epitomize Gods love.

Thank  you both for opening the eyes of my heart.

Monday, March 10, 2014

Pet peeves.

Everyday, it's the same thing.  
Makes me crazy, so I think we need a refresher course...


Yes, please.
And thank you.

40 - A Video Of Jesus In The Wilderness

I previewed this video of cartoon images to show in my religion class this week.  Seemed too simple at first glance, but the emotion and detail in these cartoons is amazing, and some of the images have been hanging with me since.  Hope you enjoy it as much as I did.  (Taken from yesterday's gospel, by the way.)

Saturday, March 8, 2014


Yesterday's responsorial psalms from daily mass readings...

R. (19b) A heart contrite and humbled, O God, you will not spurn.
Have mercy on me, O God, in your goodness;
in the greatness of your compassion wipe out my offense.
Thoroughly wash me from my guilt
and of my sin cleanse me.
R. A heart contrite and humbled, O God, you will not spurn.
For I acknowledge my offense,
and my sin is before me always:
“Against you only have I sinned,
and done what is evil in your sight.”
R. A heart contrite and humbled, O God, you will not spurn.
For you are not pleased with sacrifices;
should I offer a burnt offering, you would not accept it.
My sacrifice, O God, is a contrite spirit;
a heart contrite and humbled, O God, you will not spurn.
R. A heart contrite and humbled, O God, you will not spurn.

That last verse in particular hit me.  I can be a real wimp in the self control department.  Lent is always a struggle, and frequently (ok, always) a disappointment as far as keeping my promises.  Giving things up is hard.  Giving up anything.  Shoot, I'd be the one to start smoking just by giving up cigarettes for Lent.  I'm drawn into to a sucker!
Somehow though, this verse reassures me.  Perhaps God is a little less interested in how many days I go without Facebook, or how bad coffee tastes without creamer.  Perhaps those little trials, even if a few days of giving up on this, lead to a couple days of sacrificing that.  Maybe it's not about the specifics, rather it's about our intention, our desire to find little ways everyday to improve our relationship with Him.  It's about the change that happens in our heart as a result of those sacrifices...recognizing that when we sacrifice something, anything, for any length of time, we're making more room in there for him.

A friend told me once that "each of us has a God-shaped hole in our heart, that can only be filled by Him."  Maybe then, Lent is about the process by which we stop trying to stuff that God-hole with other crap, and clear the way for only Him.


Friday, March 7, 2014


There are times  this house can seem quite loud.  Ok.  It doesn't just SEEM loud.  It is...really noisy.
Imagine girls on giant exercise balls racing; bouncing, bouncing, BOUNCING around the kitchen table.  Meanwhile boys are playing with army heroes and Lego creations.  And anyone with boys knows about the sounds that come with this type of play...constant shooting, whistling, whirring, narrating with animated voices, clicking, ticking, screeching, shooting, and so on.  Even stories about daily events at school are spoken with a voice louder than necessary in order to be heard over all the noise.
Most days I don't even recognize how loud it is.  It's just our song.  The story of days in a home full of life and energy and well, noise.
But there are times.  Some evenings I just want to scream louder than everyone.  (And sometimes I do.)  "QUIET!!!!!!!"
"How can anyone hear anything with all this noise?!"

And then I begin to wonder if that's how I make God feel sometimes.  With all my worrying, and wishing, and overthinking and analyzing.  And the things that distract me, like Facebook, and text messages, desiring more stuff, wondering the "why's," and "how's, and "what-ifs?"
Does he ever just want to scream and get my attention?
Or is He much more  patient than I.
Does he know the story of my life, for he has written it.
And rather than scream, he waits.  And watches, listens, redirects at times, knowing that some day I will have the strength to surrender the stuff that keeps me from hearing, and listening.
He is the peace and quiet.
I am loving This Lent for its reminder to surrender, to be silent (even if only internally), and enjoy the peace only God can give.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

What to give up?

Charlie (2nd grader) informed me today that he's decided to give up Lent.  This is the same little man who a few years back (around the age of 4 or 5) decided to give up cigarettes and stealing beer for 40 days.  Seriously?!

I've already reneged on my Lenten promises, I admit.  It seemed absolutely necessary to check in on Facebook...after all I'm a Great Aunt again today.  Welcome Lilyan Francis, sweet 6#12oz bundle of joy.  Yes.  Seeing your bright eyes for the first time online (from hundreds of miles away) was definitely worth the cheat!
And now, I'm back on track.  Eyes wide open (like little Lilyan), attempting to recognize what it is God is asking of me, and hoping I might muster the courage to say Yes.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Lenten, little prayers

Awake in the morning with little prayers, grateful for another day.
Busy breakfast, and hustle bustle.
Morning mass with all the kids, sans Alice who was home sick and little Anne who was sleeping in with her.
Ashes; a reminder that I follow Him.
Back at home, coffee and games and puzzles and cartoons.
A load of laundry, and dishes.
Lunch; then off to a planning meeting for religion classes.
And baking.
A new recipe of humble dough, arms twisted tight into little prayers.
After school hunger pains, and homework.
Dinner table sharing.
Evening of story times, and noisy playing, and finally settling.
For reflection, and little prayers.
Mold and shape me Lord, like the dough I carefully kneaded today.
Help me to desire less of everything but You.
Grateful for another day.